What Is the Role of a Free Press In a Democracy?

From a New York Times story by Richard Stengel headlined “Press Gangs”:

According to a recent poll, trust in the media to “fully, accurately and fairly” report the news is at an all-time low. And no wonder: A former president has tried ( often successfully) to make the term “fake news” synonymous with news. This comes amid traditional media’s economic decline.

Theories — and questions — abound. What is the role of a free press in a democracy? Is objectivity possible, or even desirable? What is the responsibility of journalists to protect democracy or expose those who undermine it? Some see the press as under threat; to others, it is itself the threat.